How I Finally Stopped Building Other People's Dreams and Started Building My Own Dream - Author: Marcelo Cedeño

“I dream of painting and then I paint my dream,” Vincent Van Gogh

Wará Guayusa

8/25/2021 4 min read

While most of many young people dream to finish school, go to University, get a job, get married, buy a house, work all their life to pay the house, retire and travel, at my 31 years old I’m sure it’s not the life I want.

This is usually the way of perception that average people think life is, mainly because culture and education since we are kids had been telling us and showing us this standard way of living. There is a small percentage of people who wonder how life should be out of these imaginary boundaries that society teaches us and how to get out of it?

In my particular case, this story started when I was working for the Vice Minister of Agriculture in Ecuador after my 2 years of long but enjoyable studies experience in sunny, beautiful Barcelona in Spain. I thought about coming back to my home country and start my business with NO capital, a business model I made for my thesis and going back to live with my parents. Despite these things, life was good; I was encouraging myself about my vision to contribute to my strengths and knowledge acquired by Ecuador itself. After 2 months of developing the business model I saw I needed to get more experience, and for sure more contacts that could contribute me to get the business running. So, one random day I received a phone call from my old boss asking me if I would like to work with her; she was just possessed as the Vice Minister of Agriculture in Ecuador; of course, I was up for the challenge.

I started the first month in this Public Administration getting to know how slow everything moves within government and actually how difficult is to do something. I felt that Ecuadorian bureaucracy was really notorious whenever I had an idea and trying to make the idea a fact was thousands and thousands of paperwork to lawyers in-house, talking to the different areas of the Ministry, having the acceptance of the other persons and institutions involved, overall a nightmare the intentions had a valuable purpose of limiting the intermediation value chains that were taking all the margin out of certain products, leaving the poor primary producers; farmers, with no income to supply their work and intermediaries with the whole margin income.

Unfairness macroeconomic model applied to a country with a big part of the GDP related to agriculture and livestock and that 1/3 of the population dedicate to. Again, I was up for the challenge.

We created a strategy with million and millions of data numbers of productivity, regions, crops, farmers, associations, everything we thought we needed to make a whole 180 degrees change but taking suitable things and also the valuable ideas in consideration that other administrations made before. Our team was doing it great; we were already bonding the industries with the primary suppliers offering raw quality materials with high-quality standards; so industries would cut their imports and support local production. We were already making plans for exportation to different continents the crops and value-added products that Ecuador has many comparative advantages among other countries from the region. Plans were moving forward and the desire for a change was a visible tool that allowed us to make the big move!

One day, we realized our plans could not measure how this big change was impacting the people from the inside of the Ministry, people that had worked at least 30 years doing the same tasks repeatedly and had become part of the golden bureaucracy that prevailed inside this Institution for many years without having positive impacts on a visible change in the country.

With this said, mentality of change for good, do different things, seen above the horizon must have had been extremely annoying for many people on the inside part of the Government office system; this tiny but big fact was the Achilles tendon that teared our plans apart.

After 6 months of trying to change this structure with many nightmares and frustrated dreams, I stepped aside from what I considered a great opportunity to make a big change once and all for Ecuador; but at least we left set up the roots for the upcoming Ministry officials.

One night I had a curious dream, even though it sounds really like a fantasy, it was a dream that decided the destiny of what I have been doing these past 2 years.

I started developing the product that my dream told me about; I gave up the trial to change the agricultural macro-economy of the entire country and started doing at my pace, under my own rules and in a micro-economy controlled business environment. That’s when Wará Guayusa appeared. Within a time lapse of 2 months, I found the best artist who helps me express through our logo the representation of the brand itself. Got a ticket to Europe with my last savings, not even thinking. I was aiming for the old continent with wider market opportunities and within 1 month I found suppliers; I travelled to the Amazon, worked with them for an entire week to develop what would be the product that we would try to export, and finally I got 10 kg of samples divided into small packages to take in my suitcase. Overall, it was a crazy idea, but always following the dream, that was the motor, that impulse all the above. I had no space for clothes, and I had concerns that customs would make some problems or keep the samples I was taking to Europe even though I had all the permits paperwork done.

The energy supply was the vision and with this I started contacting potential buyers, created an Instagram account for the business, became an amateur photographer, learned to Copywrite read many blogs about e-commerce, negotiation and finally went to Europe all packed. Once in Europe I had make research about other buyers and contacted them. Finally, to not make the story longer, within 3 weeks I visited Barcelona, Madrid and Berlin, walking almost 200 kilometers, riding metros, buses, airplanes, many languages, eating whatever I could find on my way, sleeping in hostels, meeting new people.

When I see back time I say: “Oh wow, many people are missing this thing that give life a certain spicy flavor that I could say is the beauty of coming into unknown waters and explore and explore and explore as much as the body permits.”

Many things had happened between these 2 years, many experiences, many good valuable knowledges and also many bad ones that come with valuable lessons that teach you how valuable things are and above all I got to learn that with courage and mental strength nothing is impossible, and everything can happen! That’s the best example I can give many of the people that have not decided yet. Yes, the road is full of obstacles that you will have to overcome, but actually that’s what make life interesting, once you go out from your bubble you discover that the world has so many good things to offer, valuable people you meet on the way and above all the peacefulness to see your dream becoming real.


Warsaw, Poland


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